the soggy leaves of grammar
and arithmetic folding
under my feet.
I shuffle through the abandoned schoolroom,
past broken desks bent sleeping
or toppled like toddlers unattended
on the cracked and porous floorboards.
I walk to the front of the room
where the paint is peeling from the walls,
where a map of the world is balanced
between two chairs, my fingers landing
on a dusty edition of Gray's Anatomy.
The book surrenders, revealing the neck
and the musty smell of molded paper,
short lines point silently:
I hold my own neck to protect it from the exposure,
and wonder if all the missing children
found their voices before the schoolbell
stopped its ringing.